Eclectic mix makes up CWS
Also: Kansas women win T&F title; men's ends in tie
It took a little longer than expected, but we have a complete College World Series bracket following North Carolina’s defeat of South Carolina on Tuesday. The Tar Heels secured the final spot in Omaha with a 5-4 win against the Gamecocks after weather delayed Monday’s finale.
A blend of new and familiar faces earned berths in the 2013 eight-team bracket. Indiana is making its first appearance, while NC State and Louisville will be going to Omaha for the second time. Mississippi State and Oregon State are back for the first time since 2007, and LSU returns for the first time since winning a title in 2009. UCLA is the only repeat participant and the Tar Heels are making their first appearance since 2011.
North Carolina won the back-and-forth battle against its foe to the south, advancing to the CWS for the 10th time in program history. The series started Saturday with a 6-5 walk-off victory for the Tar Heels thanks to an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning by freshman Skye Bolt. South Carolina returned on Sunday with an 8-0 defeat of the Tar Heels, who suffered their first shutout since 2010. After Monday’s contest was pushed back to Tuesday because of inclement weather in the area, the Tar Heels took the final game of the Chapel Hill Super Regional 5-4, as the No. 1 national seed advanced to Omaha for the sixth time in the last eight years.
Oregon State battled back from a 6-2 loss to Kansas State on Saturday to win the next two games of the Corvallis Super Regional as the Beavers advanced to the CWS for the fourth time in nine years, and first time since claiming back-to-back titles in 2006 and '07. The Beavers rebounded Sunday with a dominant 12-4 win against the Wildcats as the offense pounded out 21 hits. In the rubber match Monday, OSU jumped out to a 4-0 lead with the help of a two-run homer by Danny Hayes, and regular Friday starter Matt Boyd made his first relief appearance of the season to close out the 4-3 win.
Mississippi State finished off a rain-delayed sweep against Virginia in the Charlottesville Super Regional on Monday, topping the Cavaliers 6-5 in a game that was suspended in the seventh inning Sunday. Reliever Chad Girodo fanned 10 batters and held Virginia to two runs on five hits in 4.2 innings pitched to earn the win. On Saturday, it was the Bulldogs’ offense that shined, pounding out 20 hits in an 11-6 win, including a 6-for-6 day by Adam Frazier.
The bracket started coming together Sunday with Indiana, Louisville and NC State all snapping up CWS spots. The Hoosiers posted 21 runs in two games on a Florida State pitching staff that entered the Tallahassee Super Regional with a 2.73 ERA, winning 10-9 and 11-6 and fending off the Seminoles’ repeated comeback attempts. Freshman left-hander Will Coursen-Carr tossed four scoreless innings of relief for the Hoosiers on Sunday as Indiana claimed the program’s first CWS appearance and became the first Big Ten team to advance to the CWS since 1984.
Louisville snagged the fourth spot in Omaha, upsetting No. 2 national seed Vanderbilt with a 5-3 win Saturday and a 2-1 victory Sunday. The Cardinals were the first team to win back-to-back games against the Commodores this season. Junior right-hander Jeff Thompson struck out nine batters in seven innings to notch his 11th win of the season Sunday, tying a school record. On Saturday, senior pinch-hitter Matt Helms’ two-out, two-run single capped a three-run seventh inning in the comeback win.
NC State advanced to the CWS for the first since time 1968 after surviving the longest NCAA super regional game in history against Rice on Sunday night. The Wolfpack rallied for three runs in the ninth inning to force extras before center fielder Brett Williams’ RBI double lifted them to a 5-4 victory against the Owls in a contest that included a 77-minute rain delay. In Saturday’s 4-3 win, Jake Fincher ripped a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning.
LSU and UCLA finished the job early, punching their tickets to Omaha on Saturday, completing two-game sweeps of Oklahoma and Cal State Fullerton, respectively.
The Tigers got off to a good start Friday as Aaron Nola tossed a two-hit shutout, surrendering just five hits in a 2-0 defeat of the Sooners. LSU returned to delight a record crowd at Alex Box Stadium on Saturday with a convincing 11-1 win against Oklahoma, earning the program’s 16th trip to the CWS. The Tigers pounded out 16 hits in the contest and tied the school record for wins in a season.
The Bruins advanced to the CWS for the third time in four years with a 10-inning, 5-3 win Friday and a 3-0 victory Saturday against the Titans. Sophomore Eric Filia belted a career-high four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the top of the 10th inning. David Berg earned the win in relief Friday, and collected his school-record 21st save of the season Saturday, closing out the game for starter Nick Vander Tuig (12-4). It is the first time in school history UCLA will compete in the CWS in back-to-back years.
• The Kansas women’s outdoor track and field team won its first NCAA title at Oregon’s Hayward Field on Saturday. The Jayhawks had 10 entries score a total of 60 points, besting second-place Texas A&M’s 44 points en route to the championship. Heptathlete Lindsay Vollmer won her event, while Andrea Geubelle placed second in the long jump and triple jump and Natalia Bartnovskaya was the runner-up in the pole vault to lead the way for the Jayhawks.
“We’re really excited. Everyone came into this week with the idea that this was something that we could do,” head coach Stanley Redwine said. “When Lindsay Vollmer won the heptathlon, that was a sign that everyone wanted to do well and contribute to the team effort. It’s really hard to single one person out, though, because it was a total team effort and I’m just thankful that everyone did so well.”
• For the first time since 1978, the NCAA Division I Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships ended in a tie as Texas A&M and Florida each concluded the event Saturday with 53 points. The Aggies were ahead by nine points entering the 4x400 relay -- the final event of the meet -- but the Gators notched a first-place finish while Texas A&M dropped the baton, finishing last in the race. It is the second consecutive title for Florida, and first for Texas A&M since winning three in a row between 2009-11. UTEP and UCLA shared the 1978 title.
“This is our fourth title in the past five years and we’ve won it by one or two points each time,” Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry said. “It always seems to come down to the end and you have to be perfect all the way through. We weren’t perfect [Saturday], but we had some perfect things happen to get us to here.”
“I’m extremely proud of them,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “No one gave us a chance. I watched the replays of ESPN this weekend and they didn’t even mention the Gators. I told the guys to just keep fighting, be who we are and do what we do.”
• Arizona junior Lawi Lalang became only the 12th person in NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field history to claim titles in both the 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters. He was the only student-athlete in the meet -- men’s or women’s -- to win two titles. On Thursday, Lalang competed in only his third career 10,000, finishing with a winning time of 29 minutes, 29.65 seconds, and he followed it Saturday with a time of 13:35.19 for first place in the 5,000. Lalang now has a total of seven NCAA titles, including cross country and indoor track and field.
• Oregon junior English Gardner defended her crown in the NCAA women’s 100 meters with a school-record time of 10.96 seconds to win the event. She tied for the third-fastest time in NCAA history, behind only LSU’s Dawn Sowell (10.78) and Texas A&M’s Simone Facey (10.95). Gardner also eclipsed the Pac-12 record of 10.97 seconds set by UCLA’s Gail Devers in 1987.
|THE DIGIT||THE 4-1-1|
|5||Indiana’s Derek Drouin cleared 2.34m to clinch his fifth NCAA title in the men’s high jump Saturday, becoming the first person in NCAA history to win the event five times (indoor and outdoor). Drouin outjumped two-time defending champion Erik Kynard of Kansas State for his second outdoor title. He also has three indoor titles in the high jump titles.|
|17||The 17-inning marathon between NC State and Rice on Sunday was the longest NCAA super regional game ever played since the format was introduced in 1999. It was also the fourth-longest game in NCAA postseason history.|
|29||With Indiana earning a trip to the College World Series, it is the first time in 29 years a team from the Big Ten Conference has advanced to Omaha. The last Big Ten school to make the trip was Michigan, in 1984. Big Ten teams have won six NCAA championships, but all came between 1953-66.|
|53.21||Stanford junior Kori Carter set a collegiate record and posted a world-leading time of 53.21 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday. Carter bested the meet and in-season collegiate record of 53.54 set by UCLA’s Sheen Johnson in 2004. It was the sixth-fastest time in U.S. history, and quite an improvement from her 24th-place finish in the event at the 2012 NCAA Championships.|
|96||North Carolina’s streak of 96 consecutive games without a shutout ended on Sunday as South Carolina’s Jordan Montgomery tossed a four-hitter en route to an 8-0 victory for the Gamecocks. The Tar Heels’ four hits tied a season low.|
|104||LSU shortstop Alex Bregman set the school’s single-season freshman record for hits with a single in the ninth inning of the Tigers’ victory against Oklahoma on Saturday. His total of 104 hits is just six shy of overall single-season leader Brandon Larson, who collected 110 hits in 1997.|
• Vanderbilt sophomore right-hander Tyler Beede -- the nation’s leader in victories with 14 -- suffered his first loss of the season in the Commodores’ season-ending 2-1 setback to Louisville on Sunday. Beede was chased by the Cardinals after just 2.2 innings -- his shortest outing of the season -- giving up five hits and three walks.
• Rice senior second baseman Christian Stringer belted three home runs in two games at the Raleigh Super Regional, including two in the Owls’ 5-4 loss to NC State on Sunday. He entered the series with just three career home runs.
• Texas’ Johannes Hock became only the second freshman to win the NCAA decathlon title as he scored 8,267 points in the 10-event competition Thursday.
• South Carolina’s Jordan Montgomery tossed the first complete game of his career in an 8-0 victory against North Carolina at the Chapel Hill Super Regional on Sunday. He held the hot-hitting Tar Heels to a season-low four hits, while striking out three batters. The sophomore left-hander improved to 4-0 with a 0.59 ERA in four career NCAA tournament starts.
Follow Amy Farnum on Twitter: @NCAA_Amy